Last night I had my first degree work (actually 1st degree work, pun intended) as an officer. It really is a different perspective, being involved in the ritual rather than watching from the sidelines. I sponsored my neighbor, and he seemed very pleased by the result. Grand Lodge sponsored an open house for all lodges in Massachusetts in March, and in our case, it happened after our lodge met. So although we inspired a bunch of men to pledge our lodge, we could not vote on them until April, but we originally had our Entered Apprentice Degree scheduled for April. So we voted on these new men during our regularly scheduled lodge meeting. We had to get permission from Grand Lodge to meet on another night for the degree work (and also because there were six candidates), so we did the degree work nearly two weeks after voting. We will have to hold a special Lodge of Instruction for these brothers ourselves, and then things go back to our regular schedule. We will conduct the Fellowcraft degree in our regular May meeting, the candidates will visit the district Lodge of Instruction in May (where I will give a talk on the 47th Problem of Euclid), and hopefully something similar will happen for the Master Mason degree in June, so that the new brothers who show themselves to be qualified will be Master Masons before the lodge goes dark for the summer.
The degree work was fun, and I believe we have a good group of Entered Apprentices. I'm really looking forward to watching them come into their own in the lodge. I got some good-natured ribbing from the other officers about spending too much for the tuxedo, but I don't mind. The only down side to last night was that, because we were meeting on an unscheduled night, there weren't a lot of people besides the candidates and officers (current and former). There was no festive board, just pizza from a brother's pizza shop after the degree work. I hope the candidates realize that turn-out is usually better than it was last night, and the food is usually more involved than just pizza.
Tonight the district is doing exemplification on the First degree. All of the officers of all the lodges in the district have to appear at a specified lodge building (not ours this time) and perform the First degree in front of the Grand Lecturer and the District Deputy Grand Master. This ensures that each lodge is performing the ritual at sufficient proficiency. I have no need to be nervous about my performance because I'm going to be representing the candidate tonight, and the candidate is supposed to be confused and clueless. There will be a lot of friends from other lodges, and dinner, so I'm looking forward to it.
Wow! This has the busiest month I've yet had in Freemasonry. I had a dress rehearsal on April 1st, and performed the 6th degree for Lodge of Perfection on April 4rd at the Scottish Rite one-day class. I visited another lodge in the district on the 2nd of April for their three Master Mason degree ceremonies, elections, awarding of a past master's jewel, and birthday party. On the 9th I went to our lodge's Officer's meeting, and on the 14th I was part of the District Deputy Grand Master's suite for his fraternal visit of yet another lodge in the district. On the 16th, our lodge met and voted on candidates. On the 23rd, I went to Lodge of Instruction and gave a brief talk about Holocaust Rememberance Day. Yesterday were six Entered Apprentice degrees, and tonight is Lodge of Exemplification. That's nine masonic events in one month, a new record for me.